Well-wishers: saying goodbye

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Well-wishers: saying goodbye

Postby jets » Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:31 pm

So, when we arrive on the playa, the greeters are there to welcome us. But what about when we leave the playa?

I think it'd be great if there were people there to say goodbye during Exodus.

Certainly one more dust-angel doesn't hurt either.

Has this been an idea before? If not, anyone interested?
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Postby Sham » Sat Apr 03, 2010 12:46 am

There are lots of official police along the entire route 447 who can give you one last good-bye and and a final souvenier of your visit to Black Rock City. They always pay special attention to the burners and seem to ignore the locals---after all, they can see the locals all the time, but burners are just one a year.

There is also the DPW "booze drop off station" on the way out. There is always someone there to say "hey thanks man, see ya", if you drop off your left over alcohol.
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Postby dr.placebo » Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:48 am

Some of us who work traffic control on Exodus (but not the flaggers, who have to really pay attention) wave goodbye and say things like "have a safe trip" and "see you next year." Exodus could use more volunteers, so I'd recommend doing that before just wishing folks well, although I have nothing against the idea.
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Postby Sail Man » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:19 am

IIRC Burners without Borders also has a drop off station for good lumber they can re-use. I suspect you would also receive a hearty adieu from them as well for your donation :D
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Postby Sham » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:21 am

dr.placebo wrote:Exodus could use more volunteers

Exodus could use more exits! With one car at a time being let on to the paved road, it takes hours to get out. There should be "un-greeters" directing vehicles to at least 10 separate paths to the main road instead of one!

Last year I spend a few hours in Gerlach and was amazed that while cars were hopelessly jammed up leaving the event, there was a good 30 seconds to a minute between cars on 447. Once on the paved road, things fly, but the trick is getting cars onto the road faster.
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Postby Simon of the Playa » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:24 am

the problem is, generally, no one has any serotonin left by that point.
breathe deep, the playa is the dust of your ancestors

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Postby jets » Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:23 am

True, it might slow down Exodus even more, even if it's just in the slightest bit.
Volunteering for Exodus is probably all that would be needed to help. One could take that time to also give one last farewell, before the cops do :)
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Postby Playa Foot » Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:33 am

I do traffic flagging during Exodus. I try to smile and wave at people as they get to the asphalt as I say to myself, "Get the fuck off my playa."
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:25 pm

Shambala wrote:
dr.placebo wrote:Exodus could use more volunteers

Exodus could use more exits! With one car at a time being let on to the paved road, it takes hours to get out. There should be "un-greeters" directing vehicles to at least 10 separate paths to the main road instead of one!

Last year I spend a few hours in Gerlach and was amazed that while cars were hopelessly jammed up leaving the event, there was a good 30 seconds to a minute between cars on 447. Once on the paved road, things fly, but the trick is getting cars onto the road faster.



According to what I have gathered over the years BLM stipulates only one exit for the event. It is organized the way it is for safety. I think it saves lives by not allowing too much traffic on Hwy 34 and controlling the inherent dangers that come with over capacity roads and impaired drivers. Choosing an off peak time to leave or waiting until Tuesday to exodus works great.
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Postby Sham » Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:36 pm

motskyroonmatick wrote:According to what I have gathered over the years BLM stipulates only one exit for the event.

I knew there had to be some expanation for that stupidity. I have always left by 8:00am on Sunday morning and never had a problem getting out. Last year I had a very late flight, so I waited until after 9:00 to head out. What a major cluster fuck that was. Rows and lanes kept merging and merging until it was down to ONE lane from the entire event hitting the pavement. I can understand one exit area, but make it at least 4 lanes hitting the road.

If this is a BLM rule, then they need to look at this again.
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Sat Apr 03, 2010 8:54 pm

Shambala wrote: I can understand one exit area, but make it at least 4 lanes hitting the road.

If this is a BLM rule, then they need to look at this again.


I once read a transportation science handbook to see if I could figure out a way to help with the exodus traffic jam. Reading that highly technical book gave me an idea of why they set things up the way they do. The merging lanes allow traffic to be self regulating and all lanes should feed the exit road at the same rate. This excludes driver habits which of course influence smooth traffic flow to a great extent.

This afternoon I did some research finding things like this http://www4.uwm.edu/cuts/ce490/twolane.pdf

I calculated that with a safety margin of 50% maximum capacity that a car could turn on to HWY 34 about every 4 seconds. At the slow rate of speed that people drive over the rough part of the access road it seems to me that increasing the lanes through that section would help increase flow.

But.

That section is only two lanes and one lane is needed for incoming traffic to BRC for a multitude of reasons.

So BLM "needs" to add outbound lanes to that 1500 foot section.

Lets just add one lane. All environmental impact studies and permit/permission issues aside.

It would be a simple job that would require one somewhat large tracked excavator and a medium sized dozer. $3000 for rental and transportation to and from job site for equipment. 1200 a day in cost for operators, ground man and job superintendent. 7 end dump semi trucks for brush haul off. Full day rate due to remote location is $5600. No dump fee @ pit. 31 loads of 4"- and 1+1/2"- rock at $500 per 20 yard truck and pup load. $15,500.
Total cost of $25,300 without figuring in 20% T+M profit and it would help the exodus traffic jam a little.

My numbers are my best guess.
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Postby Sham » Sun Apr 04, 2010 3:41 am

Very interesting study motskyroonmatick. This goes along with several things that I noticed last year for the first time.
*The entire event funnelled into one lane.
*Vehicles passing through Geralch were dribbling through at a very sparse rate.
*Because of the poor exit procedures, cars now have to get in line hours before they actually have to be on the road, causing yet more BRC traffic jams.
*If vehicles could leave and be on the paved road with no traffic delay, there would be no heavier traffic passing through Gerlach. It would still be spaced evenly as to when people had to leave.

My best uneducated guess as to the number of vehicles on the playa is 18,000 to 20,000. The exodus starts Saturday night right after the burn and slows up in the wee hours of the morning. The traffic issues start again around 8:00am on Sunday. This entire situation is trying to put 20k or so cars on the road over a 4 day period---Saturday-Tuesday.
The paved roads are clearly NOT the issue, but the procedures and routes to get to those paved roads.

If, for instance, I need to be on the paved road by 11:00am and anticipate a 3 hour delay, then I start lining up at 8:00am. I wil still be on the paved road at 11:00, but I will be part of the internal traffic jam. If there were better procedures for exiting, I could leave my camp at 10:30 and be on the paved road at 11:00. The traffic through Gerlach would be the exact same pace either way, but I could leave with confidence of actually being able to get out of the event.

There would be no need to grade any additonal driving area, just use orange cones to form more lanes out while still keeping one lane in.

The annual panic comes from the line up to get out. Eliminate the line up and the spacing of people leaving the event will be much less compressed.

Oh, and add some well wishers waving goodbye on the way out to keep things happy. :D
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:09 pm

Using my # of a car every 4 seconds for the capacity of HWY 34 and your # of 18,000 vehicles gives a total of 20 hours at continuous maximum capacity to empty the city of vehicles.

What is happening with Exodus is the same thing that happens with current road systems all over the world. Due to driver habits and a lack of infrastructure roads get jammed at peak use times. The only way to change that is to modify driver behavior or add more infrastructure. There has been an effort for years to get people to choose to leave at off peak times. It seems the majority of drivers prefer to ignore this advice and that people who manage to choose off peak have good success. I think the major bottle neck on the infrastructure side is the rough Playa Access Road. I think vehicles traveling over it at roughly 5 mph has a dramatic effect on the whole system.

If it were up to me to find a way to improve Exodus times I would delay the merge of the two out bound lanes until immediately before the turn on to HWY 34. It is my opinion that the current playa access road is too narrow to support 3 lanes and that that is the most influential bottle neck.

Now why BLM likes it the way it is.
BLM is concerned with the safety of participants and the residents of near bye towns.
On the participant side they want an abnormally long following distance on HWY 34 so that people can get used to driving at high speed after a week of no exposure to that. They know people leave the event impaired due to lack of sleep or whatever and this spread between vehicles reduces crashes in an area where outcomes are the worse for patients involved in crashes. Not to mention the effect crashes have on road capacity and the propensity to cause other crashes.
This extended gap between vehicles also limits the impact on the residents of the local towns and allows them to use their roads with out major difficulty. Gerlach is the first bottle neck on the pavement and if traffic flows are high it will get really jammed up like it does as people stop to get gas on the way in.
The single point of exit for the city makes it so only one part of HWY 34 is controlled by a flagger reducing impact on local traffic and reducing the chance of left turn accidents if there were more than one exit point.
If Exodus were a totally uncontrolled free for all people would be driving all over the playa trying to find one of the multiple routes off the playa. Some would invariably get lost, stuck and broke down and in the worse case scenario die as people do out there every year at other times.

I think we are stuck with the current situation. In my mind it has the mark of a traffic engineer and BLM is satisfied with the outcomes that design produces.
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Postby Sham » Sun Apr 04, 2010 5:56 pm

It sounds like that traffic cluster-fuck is done by design. I hope the point I made was clear that if they have more exits, the same number of cars would be hitting the pavement at the same time that they do now. People leave earlier BECAUSE of the wait and cause the jam. With multiple exits/lanes to leave, the same number of cars would be hitting the pavement at the same time, they just would NOT have to line up hours early to do it.

I hope this is read by BM officials and they understand that 20,000 cars over a 4 day period is not that many, but jamming them up in the city is the main problem. Allowing them to leave and get out at will, will put a nice steady stream of cars on the road and NOT huge clumps of vehicles causing traffic jams through Gerlach.
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Postby oneeyeddick » Sun Apr 04, 2010 6:48 pm

That would just create additional hazards for the northbound traffic, which is why it has to remain the way that it is, unless they expand the highway and add additional lanes, shit ain't ever gonna change.
We have an obligation to make space for everyone, we have no obligation to make that space pleasant.
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:26 pm

BM officials almost never read this board. They are all to busy just trying to get the event to happen again. About the most official interaction they have with it besides paying for hosting/upkeep is the flood of found item posts after the burn.
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Postby illy dilly » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:56 am

What are the 'peak' or worst times to leave?
We left at about 9am on Sunday, and it wasn't too bad. We sat, in line to leave for about 45 minutes, before hitting pavement. Then cruised down the road pretty steady. Stopping for Navajoes tacos of course.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:31 am

This is not only the BLM. NDOT has a say in the matter.
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Postby motskyroonmatick » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:13 pm

It seems that the traffic jam starts mid morning on Sunday. Sometimes it is smooth sailing up until 10am. Other times it is 8am when the queueing gets bad. Things clear up in the early evening and are clear for the most part over night. There is a surge of people that leave after the temple burn as is the same after the man burn.
Monday queueing gets bad at about 9am give or take an hour. It gets progressively worse throughout the day until possibly 6pm. It takes until 10 pm to have limited stop and go to get out of the city.
I leave Tuesday morning as I have a Theme Camp to pack up all day Monday. There is very little traffic then and it is a clear drive all the way to the pavement.

Short answer. Noon on Sunday or Monday is the worst time to leave.
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Postby lhyr » Sat May 29, 2010 4:13 am

if you can swing it, wait until tuesday to leave. taking off sunday you miss seeing the temple and other art burn, leaving monday is dangerous (the last couple years we've had more deaths on the roads home on monday than on the playa during the whole event).

last year was my wife's first burn. she insisted that she and her ride leave on monday. they were driving from our camp to the road for six hours, and then when they got onto the highway they passed several accidents and had to stop to help out someone who had hit a cow. they wound up staying over night in a hotel and only got moving by tuesday anyhow.

the road from BRC to the pavement aside, ALL the roads are more dangerous when thousands of party goers who haven't slept right in over a week hit the roads. by tuesday they have enough of a head start that you don't have to drive by any accidents on the way home.

tuesday post event is the best time to leave. DPW doesn't start wandering around harrassing people and demanding that they leave until wednesday anyhow. well, not any more than they do all week long ("Get off my lawn!").
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